3/5/2014 7:16 P.M. ET
Boggs battling to regain confidence on the mound
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Starting the 2013 season as the Cardinals closer didn't work out very well for Mitchell Boggs.
He blew three of his five save opportunities and eventually was traded to the Rockies after being demoted to Triple-A Memphis. But the 30-year-old right-hander might get another chance to close, and it could come with the White Sox.
Nate Jones has been sidelined since the start of camp by a moderate left glute strain, although he could pitch in a game this weekend. Matt Lindstrom aggravated his left oblique strain while playing long toss Tuesday, and Daniel Webb has returned home to deal with a death in the family. As White Sox manager Robin Ventura pointed out Wednesday, Boggs isn't the frontrunner, but he's the only candidate who has pitched.
Boggs would like another chance to close, but the right-hander is more focused on regaining sharpness off the mound.
"I would be lying if I told you that's something that I'll never want to take a shot at ever again," said Boggs, who is scheduled to pitch Thursday at home against the Mariners. "Obviously, I'm a competitor and I believe in myself and I know I'm a lot better than what I was last year. I've proven that before.
"For me, it's just getting to the spot where I know I can go out there and compete, prepare myself for March 31 and if I get to where I know I can get to, I can compete with anybody in this league in any situation. I know that and I've proven that. I'm going to do everything I can and work as hard as I can to prove that again."
As a setup man in 2012, Boggs was as solid in that role as any National League reliever. He likes the work already done with White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen to get back to that form.
Thigpen mentioned that the White Sox have tried to clean up a few small things when Boggs was playing catch, which he carried over to bullpen sessions.
"His last two sides have just been, I think he surprised himself in a way," Thigpen said. "Getting it back to where he was a couple of years ago when he was one of the best in baseball as far as what he did.
"So that and just build his confidence back up because he got beat down last year. Just trying to help this guy realize his potential and what he can do."
The White Sox closer might not be known until the team's first regular-season save situation, much like Hector Santiago in '12. Boggs isn't thinking about the possibilities, remote or otherwise.
"It's obviously something that I've been a part of for a couple of years. And I know that last year, I struggled pretty badly in that spot," Boggs said. "A lot has been written and said about it, and I know it as well as anybody because I lived it every single day.
"When I throw the ball the way I'm capable of throwing it, I can pitch in that role. I can pitch in the seventh and eighth inning. I've proven that. We've got a lot of talented guys here. We are going to be in a good spot with whoever it is. But I've learned the lesson the hard way not to concern myself with that. Just go out there and compete."
Lindstrom hurting; Jones making progress
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Wednesday's injury news produced mixed results where relievers Matt Lindstrom and Nate Jones are concerned.
Jones threw somewhere around 45 pitches in a bullpen session and reported no problems with a moderate left glute strain that has kept him out of action since the start of camp. After two days off, Jones hopes to pitch Saturday against the D-backs.
Lindstrom was scheduled to throw a bullpen Tuesday to test his left oblique strain but felt something wasn't quite right while playing long toss. He skipped the bullpen and did no throwing Wednesday, hoping to get back to playing catch Thursday.
"At the end of it, I didn't feel like I wanted it to," Lindstrom said. "I didn't feel like I wanted to throw a bullpen at that moment, so I'm continuing to try and get it better, rehab it a little more since we have so many games left in Spring Training. Leave myself some breathing room and get back out there. Just going to take it day to day.
"I don't know if anyone has had an oblique issue, but it's not that much fun, feels like somebody is shoving a knife in your side. I felt a little bit yesterday which is unfortunate because I was on my way going to get on the mound in three or four more throws. I didn't feel it at 160 feet, but I did at 50 which is weird. I don't know if it's a setback but just something I want to make sure I'm not feeling anything when I get out there on the mound so I can actually make my pitches."
Both Jones and Lindstrom are prime closer candidates, but Lindstrom wants to get healthy.
"That's what's so hard. I have to remind myself it's just Spring Training," Lindstrom said. "I just want to make sure I'm prepared for the season to start, role or not, it doesn't really matter to me. I just want to get out there and get my arm in shape."
Third to first
• The White Sox made seven roster moves prior to Wednesday's 8-0 loss to the Padres.
Right-handed pitchers Chris Bassitt, Parker Frazier and Brian Omogrosso, left-handed pitcher Mauricio Robles, infielder Mike McDade, outfielder Denis Phipps and catcher Kevan Smith were reassigned to Minor League camp. With the moves, the White Sox have 55 players remaining in Major League camp: 27 pitchers, five catchers, 14 infielders and nine outfielders.
• The breaking ball stood as the focus of Chris Sale's 59-pitch effort in Wednesday's 8-0 loss to the Padres at Camelback Ranch. It was a necessary focus, according to the left-hander, who guessed he threw somewhere between 10 and 15 sliders among his pitches.
"Just kind of getting a feel for that and obviously I needed it. It wasn't there," said Sale, who allowed six runs on six hits over 2 2/3 innings, with one walk and one strikeout. "It wasn't very sharp.
"I was trying to throw backfoot sliders and they were backdoors and vise versa. I threw more hanging breaking balls today than I threw all year. So, keep your chin up. Keep going with it and keep working."
• Jim McMahon, the iconic quarterback who was part of the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl championship, attended White Sox camp Wednesday. McMahon is friends with White Sox bullpen coach Bobby Thigpen, who met him through sports columnist Bob Verdi.
"Verd called me up and said, 'Let's play golf' one day. I said, 'Who is playing,' and he said, 'A buddy of mine, Mac, and me," said Thigpen of how he first met McMahon in the late '80s. "I never had met the guy before. I showed up at Medinah with Verd and here comes Jim McMahon. I'm like, 'Holy cow, are you kidding me? Why didn't you tell me?'
"So we've known each other since then, stayed in touch. He lives out here now and has come to a couple of [White Sox] fantasy camps in the past. We stay in touch and play golf every once in a while."
• Scott Downs has not appeared in any of the five White Sox Cactus League games, but Ventura doesn't need to see much from the southpaw in Arizona.
"He'll get in there," said Ventura. "He's a guy who's been around. He knows what he needs, so I wouldn't see him in there for a ton of games, but he'll get enough, probably more in the middle and later in spring."
• Paul Konerko celebrated his 38th birthday on Wednesday. Before his first at-bat, as he stood on deck, a fan yelled out, "Happy birthday, Paulie." Konerko acknowledged the fan, drawing applause from the crowd.